When compared to fellow Eagles such as Don Henley, the late Glenn Frey or Joe Walsh, co-singer/bassist/guitarist Timothy B. Schmit might not have as much solo recognition, but he’s nonetheless an exceptional musician who also found prominence in Poco, Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band and Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. These days, the man of many musical personalities is spending some time entirely on his own terms with the “Leap Of Faith” album and tour, which opened up its spring its leg on Easter Sunday at City Winery (where he’ll return to a sold out house on Tuesday).
A few more recent selections followed, though Schmit’s first-ever Eagles smash “I Can’t Tell You Why” came across with such purity and precision it was pretty much impossible to top.
Rather than resting strictly on his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Schmit spent much of the 125-minute evening on the current collection and 2009’s precursor “Expando,” both known for blurring the lines between rock, country, acoustic pop and soul, ensuring an exceptional assortment of material. Along with four musicians and three background singers, the 69-year-old shined on the mind racing-themed “One More Mile,” the southern dust-up “Red Dirt Road,” the cheeky, R&B-ish “White Boy From Sacramento” and the Crosby, Stills & Nash-like harmonies of “Parachute.”
One of the most intimate segments came with Schmit stripped down the sounds even further and unplugged for the harmonica-seasoned “All Those Faces” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (naturally dedicated to Frey). “The three of us are going to do a couple of shows and see how it goes, but it’s gonna be really different,” he added, referencing this summer’s mammoth Classic West and East concerts (alongside Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire).
The living room-like feel continued during Poco’s “Keep On Tryin’” when several of his accompanists left their instruments behind to congregate around the central microphone and provide some chilling vocal support. A few more recent selections followed, though Schmit’s first-ever Eagles smash “I Can’t Tell You Why” came across with such purity and precision it was pretty much impossible to top.
However, he came pretty close in the encore giving some much-deserved airtime to “I Don’t Want To Hear Anymore” (from 2007’s “Long Road Out Of Eden,” presumably the group’s final studio album) and a gorgeously understated version of the “Hell Freezes Over” standout “Love Will Keep Us Alive.” Between the enjoyable peppering from his celebrated past, plus all the variety from the present, it looks like Schmit’s latest “Leap Of Faith” will pay off no matter how the future cards fall for the Eagles.
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Upcoming concert highlights at City Winery include Timothy B. Schmit (Apr. 18); Becca Stevens (Apr. 17); Morgan James with Andy Allo (Apr. 19); Seth Walker & Edward David Anderson (Apr. 20); Dwele (Apr. 21); Paula Cole (Apr. 22); Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Apr. 23); Soul Spectacular! (Apr. 24); The Black Lillies (Apr. 25); Hal Ketchum with Darrin Bradbury (Apr. 26); Goapele (Apr. 27); Suzy Bogguss (Apr. 28); Arsenio Hall (Apr. 29); WDCB Jazz Brunch featuring the Mark Colby Quartet (Apr. 30) and Ian Maksin (Apr. 30). For additional details, visit CityWinery.com/Chicago.